Chechnya gay purge: 26 dead, many still in prison

Twenty-six gay men have been murdered in Chechnya since February, according to Novaya Gazeta, the Russian newspaper that first broke the story in March.

Some of these men were tortured to death in six secret prisons run by the Russian state. In other cases, Chechen officials coerced family members of gay men to murder them.

In a report released last week by Human Rights Watch, six former detainees detailed the conditions of their imprisonment and reported that high-level Chechen officials visited the facility and took part in harassing inmates.

While 40 men have fled Chechnya with the help of human rights groups, several men are still being held by Chechen police, according to Human Rights Watch. Those who have fled to other parts of Russia report continuing to feel unsafe as Chechen officials and family members continue to track them down.

A few countries have offered visas to displaced Chechens, but most of the 40 men still need help to get out of Russia. And gay men stuck in Chechnya also need assistance.

You can read more at the links below. Please be advised that links include descriptions of torture.

Find petitions to sign, sample letters to write, where to donate, and other ways to help at Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens.

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